Save the Children tracks innovation, adaptation during COVID-19


Children learning.

COVID-19 has changed almost everything about the way we live, work and interact with one another. Children have been removed from school and social services have been disrupted – forcing aid agencies to rethink their programming to best protect children. One of those organisations is Save the Children, an international child rights organisation working in nearly 120 countries across the world.

When the pandemic began, we knew there were barriers and challenges. But importantly, there was also an opportunity for country offices to adjust and adapt.

Alana Kapell, the Senior Adviser on Child Participation at Save the Children

And after the onset of COVID-19, that’s just what country offices did. In Sierra Leone, for example, the local Save the Children office created a platform for children to speak up about the issues affecting them most – including domestic and gender-based violence – that ultimately reached over four million people across Sierra Leone. In Venezuela, another country office gave children a platform to share information, tips and advice about managing confinement, isolation and mental health during COVID-19.

These and other new ways of working and connecting with children are stored and visualized in a child participation tracker, one component of Save the Children’s wider efforts to learning across country offices during COVID-19.

“At Save the Children, we have an organisational commitment to sharing knowledge, learning from each other, and increasing our impact,” said Clare Feinstein, Deputy Director, Child Protection at Save the Children. “We are now using this commitment to share effective learning and documentation during the pandemic through our global online learning log.”

The log collects the lessons learned and challenges encountered from adapting programming, advocacy and operations work across the Save the Children network, categorising them into an accessible, agency-wide platform to encourage an exchange of knowledge and learning. Since its inception in June 2020, 89 lessons have been uploaded from across the world.

Learning Log

Save the Children’s Child Protection team is now leveraging this global learning log to do a deeper dive of the lessons learned, hoping to surface and build on innovations. These are currently being documented into the agency’s Catalogue of COVID-19 Child Protection Innovations, which is capturing new and creative methodologies for child protection continuity during COVID-19, as well as adaptations that are effective in ensuring the continuity of essential child protection work and services.

In the process, Save the Children is focusing on four areas of innovation:

  • Remote/adapted case management
  • Remote/adapted positive parenting programming
  • Remote/adapted mental health and psychosocial support programming
  • Cash and voucher assistance for child protection outcomes

The Catalogue will be released in November or December of 2020, providing a synthesis for the child protection community to learn through, build on, and draw from as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 environment.

“The need to adapt and find new ways of working due to COVID-19 is something we have all needed to do,” said Feinstein. “Having the organisational focus on documenting lessons learned and an online platform has certainly allowed the child protection team to leverage an organisational process to take the learning one step further.”

Stay tuned for more updates on Save the Children’s Catalogue of COVID-19 Child Protection Innovations in the coming weeks, and visit End Violence's Knowledge Platform for more evidence, learning and resources.